The Voice®2019-05-23T16:45:16-04:00

The Voice is SNA’s newsletter, written by our member attorneys for the benefit of families, other attorneys and professionals who work with the special needs community.

These are in depth articles that address the complex issues we each face.

The Other Special Need: Planning for Those with Severe Mental Illness

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of the Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Shawn Majette, Esq. of Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Majette was recently named to Virginia Lawyers Media 2010 class of Leaders in the Law. This program, now in its fifth year, aims to honor the lawyers who are setting the standard for other lawyers. Mr. Majette has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America in Elder Law since 2007. He is also an active member of NAELA and was recently the focus of the organization's magazine cover story, The Magician of Elder Law. Mr. Majette's many articles can be found on the t-mlaw.com website. Involuntary Civil Commitment is one of the most recent posted online.

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Comparing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Ann N. Butenhof, CELA and Judith L. Bomster, Esq., of Butenhof & Bomster, PC, in Manchester, New Hampshire (www.butenhofbomster.com). Ann and Judith focus their practices on estate planning, special needs planning, elder law and probate and trust administration. Both are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the local New Hampshire chapter ("NH NAELA").

Ann is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, has been listed as one of New Hampshire's Top Lawyers since 2003, and has been designated one of New England's Super Lawyers.

Judith currently serves on the Board of NH NAELA, on the Ethics Committee of the New Hampshire Bar Association, and was the primary draftsperson for New Hampshire's first pooled special needs trust program for third-party trusts, a program launched in 2010 by the Enhanced Lives Options Group, a New Hampshire non-profit organization that manages several pooled special needs trust programs.

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Special Benefits for Military Families — Elect With Care

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Sandra L. Smith, CELA, a partner with Oast & Hook, P.C. in Suffolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is the editor of the firm's weekly newsletter, the "Oast & Hook News," which is available on the firm's website. She is certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Ms. Smith is the co-author of the "Special Needs Trusts" chapter for the Elder Law in Virginia handbook published by Virginia CLE. She is a member of the Board of Directors and the immediate past president of Commonwealth Community Trust, a pooled trust in Richmond, Virginia. She retired from the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 20 years active duty service, and earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the College of William and Mary School of Law.

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The Past, Present and Future of Community Living for Persons with Disabilities – A Christmas Carol

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Walnut Creek, California Special Needs Alliance member Stephen W. Dale, Esq. of The Dale Law Firm, PC. Mr. Dale is a disability rights advocate and attorney dedicated to providing quality estate planning. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of disability related topics across the country. Mr. Dale regularly teaches courses to the public, financial professionals, and other attorneys on special needs trusts and trust administration. Additionally, Mr. Dale serves as the trustee for the Golden State Pooled Trust. Mr. Dale offers numerous videos and handouts to the public and his colleagues, many online through his Achieving Independence initiative.

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What Health Reform Means for Persons with Disabilities

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Albuquerque, New Mexico Special Needs Alliance member Nell Graham Sale, CELA. Nell's practice concentrates on taxation, estate planning, estate administration, business succession, disability planning and elder law. She is a Certified Elder Law Attorney as designated by the National Elder Law Foundation. The recipient of much recognition from her peers, Nell is a fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and since 2007 has consistently been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers. Not least importantly, Nell is a regular contributor to the blog at her firm, Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman and Sale.

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Veteran’s Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Jacob H. Menashe, Esq., of Lynnwood, Washington. Jacob is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a past Chair of the Elder Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association. Jacob's practice emphasizes estate and long-term care planning, special needs trusts, probate, guardianship and Social Security/SSI disability appeals.

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Dear Grandma and Grandpa…

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq., a founding partner of the law firm of Jones, Wilcenski & Pleat, PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. He practices in the areas of Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, and Trust and Estate Planning and Administration. Ed is a past President of the Special Needs Alliance, and writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families

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Life Insurance on a Child with Special Needs: Benefits and Challenges

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by SNA member Hyman Darling, Esq., a partner in the Springfield, Massachusetts, firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. Mr. Darling concentrates his practice in estate planning, elder law, probate, special needs and guardianships/conservatorships. Before joining Bacon Wilson, he was a trust officer for several years. A frequent speaker for civic and charitable organizations, he serves on the American Cancer Society National Professional Advisory Committee and the boards of several western Massachusetts nonprofit organizations for persons with disabilities. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Board of Directors.

Planning Options With Retirement Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Ken W. Shulman, Esq., a partner in the Boston, Massachusetts office of Day Pitney LLP. His practice includes estate planning and related issues for families who have children with disabilities, and elder law. He presently serves on the board of the Asperger's Association of New England and on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Committee on Disabilities. He previously served on the board of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is a co-author of Special Needs Trust Administration Manual, A Guide for Trustees, available through DisABILITIESBOOKS.

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Retirement Accounts and Government Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq. and Tara Anne Pleat, Esq..

EDWARD V. WILCENSKI, Esq., is a founding partner of the law firm of Jones Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. He practices in the areas of special needs planning, elder law and trust and estate planning and administration. A member and past president of the Special Needs Alliance, Ed writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

TARA ANNE PLEAT, Esq. is a founding partner of the law firm of Jones Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. She focuses her practice in the areas of special needs planning, trust & estate planning and administration, long term care planning and elder law. Tara is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, frequently speaking on estate planning and administration, special needs planning and related disability issues for state and local bar associations and community organizations.

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Crummey Doesn’t Mean Lousy

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by H. Amos Goodall, Jr., CELA of the State College, Pennsylvania law firm Goodall & Yurchak, P.C. His practice emphasizes estate planning and implementation for elders, persons with special needs and their families. A member of the Special Needs Alliance and of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Amos is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

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Your Special Needs Trust Explained

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member, Amy C. O`Hara, CELA. Amy is an attorney with Littman Krooks LLP with offices in New York City, White Plains, NY and Fishkill, NY. Most of her work involves helping people with special needs planning (trusts, guardianships and government entitlements), estate planning and administration (wills and trusts), elder law issues (Medicaid and Medicare, Veterans' Benefits, guardianships).

Being Prepared For a Disaster

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member, Mark Shalloway, CELA of West Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Shalloway is a certified elder law attorney (by the National Elder Law Foundation), and is a member of the charter class of attorneys board certified in elder law by the Florida Bar Association. He has practiced law since 1989, and is a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. His practice primarily includes elder law and special needs planning.

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What happens when persons living with disabilities marry?

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq. and Laurie Hanson, Esq.. Ed Wilcenski is a partner in the Clifton Park, New York law firm of Jones Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC. His practice is focused entirely on Special Needs Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Trust & Estate Planning and Administration. He is a former President of the Special Needs Alliance, and is a frequent author and lecturer on topics involving special needs trusts and estate planning for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Laurie Hanson is a shareholder in the Minneapolis, Minnesota elder law firm of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A. whose focus is to provide individuals who are aging or living with disabilities positive strategies to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Ms. Hanson concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of government benefit eligibility, special needs trusts, trust and public benefit litigation, estate planning and planning for incapacity. She is the past president of the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

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Housecleaning? Please Don’t Pitch These Records!

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Janet Lowder, CELA; Sandra J. Buzney, JD, LISW and Mary B. McKee, JD, who practice law in northeast Ohio with Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. Janet and Sandra are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA); Mary belongs to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR). Janet is also the Vice President of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

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Signing the Social Security Application

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member H. Amos Goodall, Jr., CELA, of State College, Pennsylvania. Mr. Goodall is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (by the National Elder Law Foundation), and has practiced law since 1976. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Goodall primarily works in special needs and elder law planning, business organization planning, and real estate and business litigation.

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Life Insurance and Children With a Disability

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Hyman Darling, Esq., a partner in the Springfield, MA firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. (https://www.baconwilson.com/) where he concentrates in estate planning, elder law, probate, special needs and guardianships / conservatorships. Before joining Bacon Wilson, he was a trust officer for several years. He is a frequent speaker for civic and charitable organizations. Please visit Mr. Darling's online profile for a complete list of his qualifications and accomplishments.

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18, 19, 21 Candles on that Cake

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Hughes, Esq. of Madison, Wisconsin, who comes to her interest in facilitating the best in special education experiences from her long past "life" as a sixth grade teacher. Ms. Hughes is a partner in the Madison law firm of Hill, Glowacki, Jaeger & Hughes, LLP, where her practice is focused on special needs planning, elder law, and general estate planning and administration. A Fellow and past board member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, in recent years she (along with several of her law partners) has consistently been recognized as one of the city's best attorneys in Madison Magazine and selected as a Wisconsin estate planning and probate Super Lawyer in Law and Politics Magazine, ranking in 2009 as one of Wisconsin's 25 top women attorneys.

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Pooled Trusts for Individuals with Special Needs

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Cora A. Alsante, Esq. and Syracuse University law student Camille Castro. Ms. Castro was a 2009 summer intern at the law firm of Hancock & Estabrook in Syracuse, where Ms. Alsante is a partner. In addition to her work at Hancock & Estabrook, Ms. Alsante was an adjunct professor at Syracuse University College of Law, where she taught elder law. Ms. Alsante has also been named as a New York Super Lawyer in elder law, estate planning and probate. Ms. Alsante is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a long-time member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

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Taxes and Special Needs Trusts

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Lisa Nachmias Davis, CELA and Shawn L. O'Sullivan, who practice law in New Haven Connecticut as two-thirds of the firm Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC. Lisa is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Shawn has handled trust accounting and tax returns for over twenty-five years. Lisa is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

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